Refreshed versions of the Mazda3 and Mazda6, two of the brand’s best-selling vehicles, will arrive in U.S. showrooms next month offering for the first time heated rear seats and steering wheels, upgraded interiors and new chassis controls to improve stability and handling.
The two ’17 models will come standard with Mazda’s all-new G-Vectoring Control, which cuts a few degrees of ignition timing to reduce engine torque by up to 20 lb.-ft. (27 Nm), effectively engine-braking the vehicles by about 0.05 g.
The system works only when your foot is on the throttle and the steering wheel is turned, and it causes more weight to shift forward to provide a greater contact patch for the front wheels.
Mazda describes the system as revolutionary and says GVC makes handling more predictable, leading to less driver fatigue, more confidence and greater steering accuracy. It reinforces the brand’s Jinba Ittai performance credo. In Japanese, the term means “horse and rider as one.”
When the driver maintains a constant steering angle, Mazda says GVC immediately recovers engine drive torque, transferring load to the rear wheels to enhance vehicle stability. This series of load transfers draws out much more grip from the front and rear tires, enhancing vehicle responsiveness.
Other features appearing on the refreshed Mazda3 and Mazda6 are genuine Nappa leather on the inside, while i-ACTIVSENSE safety technologies now operates in a wider range of situations. Pedestrian detection has been added to the Advanced Smart City Brake Support system.
Traffic-sign recognition becomes available with the new models. The steering wheel design for both vehicles is borrowed from the recently launched CX-9 CUV.
The Mazda3 gets a new grille, available LED headlamps, redesigned 18-in. wheels and two new colors: Machine Gray Metallic and Eternal Blue Mica.
The instrument panel has been restyled for a 3-dimensional appearance, and the interior now will be offered with one of two new types of black fabric or black or parchment leather. Parchment is adopted in place of the former almond white. Map pockets are nearly three times larger than in the ’16 model.
Now available in the Mazda3 is a new system for Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring, which uses a quasi-milliwave radar sensor to alert the driver of other vehicles when changing lanes. The system becomes operational at speeds above 9 mph (14 km/h).
The same sensors also enable Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which helps when backing out blind from a parking spot from between two large SUVs.
The ’17 Mazda6 will come available in a new exterior color, Machine Gray Metallic, marking the second premium finish after Soul Red Metallic.
The interior has been restyled for better quality and refinement. The full-color Active Driving Display has been upgraded to be more legible, with greater definition, contrast and brightness.